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Peggy’s Strands of Heaven is a knitter’s sanctuary, snuggled in the Historic Downtown Plainfield, Illinois. Offering all the comforts of home; pleasant conversation, coffee & tea, an oversized sofa near the fireplace, and a stash beyond your wildest dreams. Our fibers have been hand selected to tantalize your senses. Every inch of space in our store is filled with a rainbow of color in strands of Alpaca, Buffalo, Camel, Cashmere, Cotton, Lama, Mohair, Silk and Wool.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Is April Fools Day Over Yet? Well for all of us at the shop it's been more like the movie Ground Hog Day with Bill Murray. In case you haven't experienced it yet Downtown Plainfield is under going a face lift. Currently, the main drag is down to one lane going east, with the other side of the road blocked off by lovely and decorative pylons. As I drove to the shop on Monday, I was greeted by several of these pylons placed strategically to block our driveway. This is not a good sign at the beginning of the week. I just survived my twelve year old's birthday sleep over only to be denied access to my only safe zone "the knitting shop". For those of you who know me and even those of you who don't yet, I promptly stopped traffic by putting my car into park, got out, and kicked the Sh@#! out of the pylon as it rolled down the street, got back into my car and pulled into the drive. As I was walking back out to the street to place the pylon in the correct position, I noticed that the gentlemen that had been putting them out must have witnessed my confrontation with his pylon and decided to keep moving down the street. I will say however, that I have been able to access our driveway during the week without any further issues. I am assuming that my message was heard loud and clear. Like the movie the day only proceeded to get better.

As our morning appointment was leaving he mentioned that we seemed to have a sink hole in the drive way. How could that be we just had a load of gravel delivered to fill in the hole in the middle of the driveway. Oh! but it's not in the driveway it is where the city just drug the 6 foot deep trench to replace the aging water lines. Ok, Ok, it not that bad it's just about the size of a small plate. By the time Monday nights group had arrived it had taken on a life of it's own, it was big enough to hold several small dogs or a child or two. I just keep telling myself that it is all a dream.....

I can't even find satisfaction in Knitting. You ask why? As I have said in the past "I have issues". Early in March my daughter and I were looking back through some family photos when we ran across the pictures from her christening. And of course being the good knitting mother that I am, I knitted my daughters christening dress. This is how it all started....the next words out of her mouth were "will you knit my first communion dress"? Need I tell you what my answer was "Sure Honey"! After, selecting the Merry Maiden Dress from one of the Knitter's Magazine patterns I started off to customize it. That was my first mistake. I strung 320 white seed beads, and started knitting the bodice only to absolutely hate it after it was completed. Then I tossed it to the side and regrouped. Meg and I found enough white Patina Yarn from Classic Elite in my stash to use and thought we would use crystals this time. After purchasing a lot......of 6mm crystals, I discovered that 6mm seed bead centers are not the same as 6mm crystal centers. Once the crystal crisis was resolved I was able to get started. I finished the bodice with a minor stitch pattern adjust and it was time to start the skirt. This one is for all of you out there who have started patterns, thought that you have read them thoroughly, only to discover you can't read. The skirt has two charts, one for the cable panel, and one for the lace panel. It is usually not my style to actually read a pattern before I dive in. I usually like to go with the flow. I placed my markers and off I went. After a lot of frogging, I was about to loose my mind. Well, what is left anyway. So, I set it aside and picked up my socks and knitted on them for a few days. Since, this dress has to be completed prior to May 3rd, I had to pick it back up relatively quickly. Once again, I read through the pattern, only to discover a section that said "increase round". In this little section it mentioned an increase round that needed to take place every other round that was not charted. As the saying goes; "open the door and the light goes on". Of, course it makes total sense to me now. When I included the increase stitches to the lace pattern everything knitted into place. It looks like Meg will have her dress in time. The moral of this story is to always have another project on the needles to go to and when the knitting gets tough, walk away, regroup and look at it with fresh eyes.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Forgive Me Fellow Knitter's for I have sinned, it's been two months since my last post. We have alot of catching up to do. At this point I am sure most people have figured out that I am still navigating my way through the Internet/Computer scene and it ain't pretty. I find it sad that my 8 & 12 year old children are better at it than me. For those of you who might have attempted to access my website and found it down or possibly old information on it, please accept my apologize in advance. Some days I am better at using the software than others, and some days I have screwed it up so badly that I have to go back to the back up disc that my husband was so nice to have made for me and start from scratch literally!

Enough about my "inadequacies" let's move on to the bizarre! With the holidays past and present, crazy court dates with my previous landlords, family & business responsibilities I have found it increasingly difficult to actually get in any real knitting time that I can call my own. I don't know about the rest of you but, I actually found myself going several weeks at a time without picking up my needles and knocking out a row. At one point it got so bad I found myself one Sunday morning in my downstairs "bathroom" with a cup of coffee and my knitting, door locked, fan on pretending to be using the bathroom for it's intended purpose, but really I was sitting on the toilet seat knitting in progress. This was the only place I could be alone, with my knitting without interruption. Of course that was until my husband became concerned because I had been missing for awhile. I heard a knock at the door, and the voice said "are you O.K. in there". I of course replied "I am fine". The relaxed tone of my voice must have given me away and the next words I heard where "You aren't actually in there knitting are you"? Can you believe it. Men, even my son have been reading in the bathroom for centuries, but I can't knit? Go figure!

The shop itself has been buzzzzzzing with a number of knitting groups, classes and new yarns.
Our open house/knitting lounge on Friday 11/30 was awesome. Thanks to all the ladies that stopped in just to sit and knit. Becky and I managed to get the fireplace working without burning down the building, or burning off our eyebrows, which added the perfect touch to the event. Sarah's December Nights sock pattern is complete and our first Sock Club kit is ready just in time for the holiday season. Her pattern is challenging, but not to worry it's do-able and it's an "Authentic Original". Definitely well worth the time and effort. On Sunday, Jen from Knitting Like Crazy dropped off our latest creation "Hand Dyed Superwash Wool". O.K. it's not just me E.G one of our knitter's purchased 2 skeins of the camo color on Tuesday, she called me yesterday to tell me that it was working up awesome. She couldn't believe how soft it was and of course the color was perfect for the set of matching hats that she was making for her husband, ms. Georgia and of course the new addition to her family that will be arriving in January. Thanks E.G. for your update. We'll it's time for me to sign off, but I promise to better about blogging. See ya soon!


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rip It!

I would like to start this post by Thanking Lorna & Carrie. Lorna for helping a computer illiterate and Carrie for her subtle suggestions. Thanks Again! With that said let's start off our shop blog on the subject of ripping. To rip or not to rip that is the questions? My personal approach on this subject is fairly simple. When I was a newbie knitter ripping back and fixing a mistake was out of the question. I would look at my instructor and say "you’re joking right"? After all the precious time that I had spent knitting, she wanted me to rip back and fix it. I would talk myself into leaving it by saying things like no one will notice, it's O.K. I just started knitting, etc. etc. My only concern back then was to feel that sense of accomplishment you get when you have finished a project. As my skills evolved I have become more open to the idea of ripping back and fixing. When asked the questions these days my first thought is "how does the mistake affect the appearance and functionality"? Recently, in Carrie's magic loop class, that I was taking, one of the ladies had purled a row instead of knitting. She turned to me and said "do you think I should rip back or will it be alright"? As I pointed out to her this is a sock, you will be standing on your feet all day with that weird ridge on the bottom of your foot. You should rip it back a row and correct it. Her response was "I don't think so; I am going to leave it". Knowing her as I do I responded back "Fine! But I don't want to here about it later; I have witnesses that I told you to rip back". Her mistake while she might have been able to live with the appearance, most certainly affected the functionality. Another case in point. When I first opened the shop I decided I was going to knit myself a Debbie Bliss sweater. The sweater was knitted all in one, starting from the left sleeve. I was knitting along, and came to the point in the pattern that called for me to pickup so many stitches for the collar. Well, because this was a new technique for me and I really wasn't grasping the whole concept very well I decided that I knew far more than Debbie. I picked up the stitches in a different spot on the needle. Eleven Inches over 100 sum stitches later I figured out that I did not have a collar, but that I had created a loin flap that hung down to my knees. At this point I knew ripping back was in my future. The sweater was placed back in my basket. I started a simple & quick hat project to build up my knitting confidence and went back a week of so later to rip. This mistake affected both the look & functionality of the sweater without a doubt. Ooooops! On the other side of the coin though, when the mistake is an extra stitch at the end of a row my own thought is k2tog at the end of the row and go from there. Or if you have purled in a pattern and should have knitted, fix it on the next pattern row. If someone notices, they have invaded your personal space and they have a lot bigger issues than your mistake. Ripping is an individual choice, if you have OCD issues than by all means rip it, if not than let it go and move on to your next project. It's your creation and you can do it anyway you want as long as you’re O.K. with it. How many times in life are we actually able to say that? And just think you didn't even have to pay for therapy on that one!
Labels: To rip or not to rip that is the question?


Friday, September 14, 2007

We MOVED!!! And we're so excited!

This Spring we relocated approximately 2 blocks west of our previous location! We are in a wonderful house where each room is a different theme and color! Our new address is: 705 W Lockport Street! Our sign is out front so you can't miss us!

Stop by and see all our new yarns, accessories, rooms and sit and knit a while!

More updates to come soon!

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Thursday, June 15, 2006


It may seem silly to become so excited about wool in the middle of summer - but we simply can't help it. One hundred percent Merino wool gets our heart pounding, no matter what the season.

We simply cannot describe the feeling of this wool over the internet - you'll have to come in to touch and lose all of your preconceived 'wool's scratchy' notions, as this yarn is pure buttery, creamy softness. AND...the COLORS!!!!!!! Playful yellows, pinks, and greens; bold blues; deep, rich browns and mixtures of all of the above.

Yes, it is summer - but imagine pulling on that delightfully soft dream sweater, the one that is just the right shade for you, on the first crisp day of fall. You'll be glad you knitted it up.

Come in today to see some of this wonderful wool --- and...be sure to touch it!!


Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Quick Guide to Pattern Resizing
The key to pattern resizing is to know…..the stitch and row gauge with the yarn & needles you intend to use.

Step 1: Make a 4 inch gauge swatch to figure out the “per inch” row and stitch gauge.
Step 2: These numbers can then be multiplied by height and width measurements to find the number of stitches to cast on or number of rows to knit.

EXAMPLE: If you want to knit a sweater in a size 40” bust, but the pattern is only written up to a size 38”. You know that you are getting 3.5 stitches per inch. Multiply 3.5 x 40” and you will get 140. That is the number of stitches that will give you 40”.
This is a quick simplification of the process. If you have any questions or need help with your particular pattern, feel free to come in and see us. We are always willing to help.


Welcome to the Strands of Heaven Blog! Peggy’s Strands of Heaven is a knitter’s sanctuary, snuggled in the Historic A.C. Steiner’s Dress Shop of Plainfield, Illinois. Offering all the comforts of home; pleasant conversation, coffee & tea, an oversized sofa near the fireplace, and a stash beyond your wildest dreams. Our fibers have been hand selected to tantalize your senses. Every inch of space in our store is filled with a rainbow of color in strands of Alpaca, Buffalo, Camel, Cashmere, Cotton, Lama, Mohair, Silk and Wool.

We hope you will find our blog and website a place for you to find new ideas and new projects to work on! Stop by the site for free patterns, classes, and products!


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